Mostly, policies made for better governance in India nowhere seen on ground reality. These are meant to be secured into files or if implemented, it has to follow the system of red tapism. But, when it comes to implementation of e-Governance initiatives, Gujarat is far ahead of most other States in the country. Gujarat has bagged one fourth of the e-Governance awards during the 17th National Conference on e-Governance, organised at Kochi, Kerala, by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India, in association with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India. Gujarat bagged four of the sixteen National Awards for e-Governance initiatives; no other State got more than two awards. Incidentally, eleven of the sixteen awards went to non-UPA ruled States. So far Gujarat has won more than 125 awards in the area of e-Governance.
Today, this innovative way of governance shown by Narendra Modi had convinced the common citizens in all parts of the country itself. It is well known that he has already implemented his model of better governance in Gujarat. Several agencies have identified Gujarat as the best example of effective governance and impressive development in the country. In fact, the Ministry of Urban Development in the Centre has asked other States to follow Gujarat models for rapid and efficient development of infrastructure projects.
The State has started an innovative practice of grievance redressal of the citizens through an e-Governance system called SWAGAT (www.swagat.gujarat.gov.in). Through this system, the citizens of the State can express their grievances directly to the Chief Minister, in case if their voice gets neglected by the administrative departments. Once any user lodges a complaint through SWAGAT, the complaint goes directly to the concerned department and has to be responded immediately. The Chief Minister personally follows the cases through video conferencing with the concerned departments.
While other States, especially the small towns are struggling to have internet connectivity, Gujarat has broadband connectivity to all of its 13,693 Gram Panchayats. With all the Panchayati Raj institutions and Common Service Centres (CSCs) linked with broadband, the citizens in all parts of the State have easy access to various services from the Government, like issuance of birth and death certificates, caste and income certificates, tax collection receipts, land record related services, electricity, water and phone bill payments, e-ticketing for railways and airlines, etc.
Majority of disputes in Indian courts have something to do with land rights. Many innocent people get involved in financial draining litigations because of some inaccuracy in their land records. The Government of Gujarat has launched a very useful e-Governance scheme called e-Dhara for modernising land administration and to enable farmers to manage this crucial resource better. This project enables citizens to access enable access land records in an easy, transparent and secure manner. It is possible for farmers in rural areas to get copies of Record of Rights (RoR) from village panchayat itself after paying a nominal fee. More than 40 million copies of RoR have already been issued since e-Dhara was launched.
In his speeches, Modi has been promising voters to build 100 new smart cities around the country, once the BJP comes to power. He sees the creation of State of the art urban areas, not as a challenge but as an opportunity for the entire country. What is a smart city? A smart city is not only about the creation of a State of the art physical infrastructure, it is also about having efficient e-Governance systems in place so that people are able to access various services from the Government and private sector from the comfort of their home or office.
The world’s major IT Company, Microsoft, has already selected Surat for the launch of its City Next initiative, which will turn the city into a Smart City. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has already launched the e-City project. In fact, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is the first Municipal Corporation in the country to facilitate better performance of the delivery of municipal services like birth and death registration, building plan, primary health and education, city cleanliness, water supply, sewage, road, street-lights, parks and garden through e-governance to the 36 Lakh citizens of the city.
e-Procurement is most successful in the State of Gujarat. Purchasing is possible only in an area where there is a need for maximum transparency, so that the goods and services can be procured in minimum prices and maximum benefits can be given to the citizens. Gujarat has e-enabled its purchases, thus ensuring that the State Government is able to save money in its purchases and other benefits such as best practice processes and quality management is ensured. Today, all the purchases and procurements of the Government departments is being done through